I don't think it's too far an exaggeration to say that my family's last Thanksgiving was a national tragedy. Seriously, people. Is Thanksgiving not the one holiday that, above all others, truly is about the food? Yes, yes, there is that whole "giving thanks" and family togetherness thing and all that. But really, honestly, it is about mashed potatoes and yams and pumpkin pie, right? I mean, without two kinds of potatoes and pie, is there really any reward or payback for enduring the "family togetherness" part of the deal? I think you see my point.
I come from a long line of non-cooks, however. (You thought it was just me? No, we've covered this before; it goes back at least two generations prior.) I have no memories of a large, extended family all gathered around the table for a home-cooked meal. For holidays, we have always been restaurant people. It's not so bad, really. There's always plenty of mashed potatoes in the buffet pan, and we typically have a whole table of desserts from which to select. Plus--bonus!--no dishes! No leftovers either, mind you, but I'll take the lack of cleanup over lack of extra calories, thank you very much.
In the last few years before my grandma's death, however, she became strangely antisocial. We could still come to see her on Thanksgiving, but she didn't want to go out to eat. So last year, we did the same thing we've done the past few Christmases (the one holiday when even restaurants are closed). Brace yourselves if you weren't around last November and therefore haven't heard this story yet. We had day-old takeout from KFC.
I'll just let that sink in for a minute. Day-old takeout from KFC. On Thanksgiving.
Seriously, you're thinking about shipping me a proper Thanksgiving dinner right about now, aren't you? But wait. It gets even worse. The one saving grace among the reheated chicken and rubbery day-old biscuits was to be the dessert. I may not have had stuffing and sweet potatoes, but I was still going to have pumpkin pie, at least! Pie! But no! My mother brought apple, instead. An apple pie from her church's fundraiser. An acceptable substitute, perhaps, except that it was from the previous year's fundraiser. It was chewy and freezer-burned and all-around terrible.
So last Thanksgiving, while all of you were enjoying turkey with homemade potatoes and all the other various fixings, I had day-old KFC and freezer-burned year-old pie.
I do realize, of course, that this still puts me within a fortunate class. Some people don't have any Thanksgiving dinner. Blah blah blah. Some people don't have the Internet either. I'm not focusing on economic hardships right now.
This year, things will be different. Still no one's cooking, but we will be having a meal deli-made by the experts at our local upscale grocery chain. And there will be pie, dammit, because I will be baking and bringing it.
Of course, making that pie is one of the approximately 17 things I need to do between now and when my parents arrive in town sometime within the next six hours. Keeping myself from dropping out of NaBlo in the final days was on that list as well. Now that that's taken care of, however, it's on to the really important tasks: having drinks with my urban family to fortify myself for the next four days with my real one. Wish me luck! Oh, and happy Thanksgiving, to everyone in these here United States. And a very pleasant Thursday to those of you everywhere else.